Roubaix legend Roger de Vlaeminck believes Tadej Pogacar would've never been able to drop him - "Pogacar isn't even half the rider Merckx was"

Roger de Vlaeminck is a winner of Paris-Roubaix four times, Milano-Sanremo three, with Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Tour of Flanders also in an enviable palmarès. Comparing cyclists of different generations is always a hard task, but the Belgian legend believes that in his prime he would not be dropped by the current Tadej Pogacar.

"Eddy Merckx was on another level, huh? There's absolutely no comparison between Pogacar and Merckx. Pogacar is a fantastic rider, and the Strade Bianche is a tough race, but not a legendary one, huh. He broke away ninety kilometers from the finish, and nobody could follow. I guarantee you: if I had been on his wheel, he would never have dropped me in my prime," de Vlaeminck said in words to Wielerrevue. "Never in his life! Just like Francesco Moser and Beppe Saronni couldn't either."

The new 76-year old is one of cycling's greatest ever figures, with results that stand the test of time. Over the past year some riders have emerged such as Pogacar or Mathieu van der Poel, as figures who are headlining a generation whose level is higher and higher. Pogacar, having won the Tour de France, Tour of Flanders and virtually dominating every race that he takes part in, reminisces the times of De Vlaeminck where a few riders could topple over the competition in almost every terrain. The Slovenian's ability is often compared to that of Merckx or other legends of the sport including De Vlaeminck.

"Pogacar is heading to the Giro now, but in Italy, there aren't any top riders at the moment. You have Filippo Ganna who is decent in time trials, but he's not an absolute top rider. Can someone explain to me why there aren't more great riders in Italy?" he questions. The UAE Team Emirates rider is the absolute favourite for the upcoming Corsa Rosa, where he will make his debut and hopes to add a pink jersey to his still relatively young career.

However, despite his achievements, De Vlaeminck does not spare some rough words: "Pogacar is a top rider and by far the best in the world, with Mathieu van der Poel a close second. Unfortunately, Mathieu can't keep up in the mountains. That would have been an exciting duel. But Pogacar isn't even half the rider Merckx was."

"If Merckx were to race in the same Giro as Pogacar, Pogačar would be five minutes behind in the general classification."

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